The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum are premium cards that can enhance just about every aspect of your travel experience. While they have steep annual fees, people who travel on the regular may find it easy to recoup that cost every year in rewards and perks.
But when we put the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum head to head, which one is better? The answer is: it depends.
Why are these cards so popular?
While both cards cost hundreds of dollars each year to carry, they’re incredibly popular among enthusiasts of credit cards. There are two primary reasons for their appeal: rewards flexibility and luxury perks.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is one of the most versatile rewards programs available, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives cardholders the chance to make the most out of it.
As a cardholder, you can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back and gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point. But if you use your rewards to book travel through Chase, you’ll receive 50% more value, making each point worth 1.5 cents.
If you’re a savvier card user, there’s an opportunity to squeeze even more value out of Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to one of Chase’s airline and hotel partners, which include both domestic and international brands, ranging from Southwest Airlines to Hyatt hotels, as well as JetBlue, Air France, and British Airways.
The Amex Platinum won’t give you any more than 1 cent per point when you redeem your points in-house. But if you transfer your rewards to an Amex airline or hotel partners, you could potentially get a lot more value out of them. Amex partners also include British Airways, Air France, and JetBlue.
You can earn free flights and hotel stays with just about any travel rewards card, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the American Express Platinum take things to the next level. Both cards offer complimentary airport lounge access, travel-related statement credits, rental car discounts and upgrades, various trip protections, and more.
These benefits can not only save you money while you’re traveling, but they can also enhance your trip experience. Many airport lounges, for example, provide complimentary food and drinks, as well as a quiet refuge from the hubbub of the rest of the airport.
Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum: Core benefits and fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve
|Special Offer||Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months||Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 6 months, plus 10X points on purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets for first 6 months (on up to $15,000 combined)|
|Earning Rate and Bonus Categories||10X points on Lyft rides, 3X points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit), 3X points at restaurants, and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else||5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases|
|Authorized User Fee||$75||$175|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||None||None|
|Learn how to apply||Learn how to apply|
Between these two premium credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers a better rewards program, with more opportunities to earn bonus rewards and more valuable redemption options when you redeem within the rewards program. Remember, though, that both cards allow you to transfer points to travel partners, giving you the chance to maximize their value.
Both cards offer complimentary credits for cardmembers. The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and, as of Jan. 12, 2020, will offer a $60 annual DoorDash credit. In addition, the Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers a flexible $300 annual travel credit, while the Amex Platinum Card does not. However, the Amex Platinum offers up to $200 in Uber credits annually, a $100 annual credit for purchases made at Saks Fifth Avenue, and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.
If you have a partner or family member who wants to take advantage of some of these card benefits, note that the Chase Sapphire Reserve charges a lower authorized user fee, too.
Travel perks and other benefits
Chase Sapphire Reserve
|Lounge Access||Access to Priority Pass network lounges||Access to Centurion, American Express, Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club, Airspace, and Escape network lounges|
|Elite Hotel Programs||Special benefits at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection and Relais & Chateaux||Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status; free benefits at The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotel & Resorts|
|Rideshare and Food Delivery||Complimentary Lyft Pink membership; earn 10X points on Lyft rides; and get a minimum of one year of DashPass from DoorDash||Up to $200 in Uber Cash each year|
|Car Rental Benefits||Premium status with Avis, National, and Silvercar||Premium status with Avis, Hertz, and National|
|Travel Accident Insurance||Yes||No|
|Trip Delay Insurance||Yes||Yes|
|Trip Cancellation Insurance||Yes||No|
|Lost or Delayed Baggage Insurance||Yes||Yes|
|Rental Car Insurance||Yes, primary||Yes, secondary|
|Emergency Evacuation and Transportation||Yes||Yes|
|Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit||Yes||Yes|
|Learn how to apply||Learn how to apply|
Core travel benefits
If you’re considering the Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Amex Platinum benefits may provide a lot more value. Not only do you get access to several more airport lounge networks, but you’ll also get complimentary elite status with two major hotel brands — something the Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t currently offer at all.
Rideshare and food delivery
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers one year of complimentary Lyft Pink membership (a $199 minimum value) and earns 10X points on Lyft rides. You also get a minimum of one year of DashPass from DoorDash for $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees on orders over $12, as well as up to $60 of DoorDash credits to use before Dec. 31, 2021.
Compare this to the Amex Platinum that offers up to $200 in Uber Cash each year. That’s $15 of Uber Cash each month plus a $20 bonus in December to use on Uber rides or Uber Eats orders.
The free Uber Cash on the Amex Platinum is likely better overall because it’s simple and easy. You get a certain amount to use each month and Uber Cash is interchangeable between Uber rides and Uber Eats.
If you want the card with the most trip protections, however, the Chase Sapphire Reserve may be the better choice. Most notably, the card offers primary rental car insurance. This means you don’t need to file a claim with your personal insurance policy at all.
Rental car coverage
American Express offers primary rental car insurance for a fee (which is typically much cheaper than what you’d pay the rental car company), but the coverage that comes with the Amex Platinum is secondary. This means you’d need to first file a claim with your personal car insurance policy, and the card’s coverage will only kick in if there’s anything left over that your insurer didn’t cover.
Which card is right for you?
Neither card is objectively better than the other. Both offer a healthy welcome bonus as well as bonus points on certain purchases. So it’s important to know what you want out of a card to know which is better for you.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
If rewards value and flexibility are your top priorities, the Chase Sapphire Reserve wins hands-down, especially if you spend a lot on general travel purchases and dining.
If you’re not as concerned about getting free travel — maybe you travel a lot for work and aren’t paying for it, or you can easily afford trip expenses — and instead want the card that provides more value in the form of perks, the Amex Platinum is the clear winner between the two.
Take some time to consider your travel habits, preferences, and spending habits to determine which card is best suited for your wants and needs.
Does it make sense to have both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum?
If you can get enough benefit from both cards to offset their annual fees and want to maximize your earning potential and perks, it could make a lot of sense to have both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns bonus rewards on broad categories of travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and restaurants, which is different from the Amex Platinum. But the Amex Platinum offers additional airport lounge access at Amex Centurion Lounges, as well as complimentary elite status with loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors.
Combining rewards and benefits from both cards could open up additional earning opportunities and enhance your travels even more.
Is the Amex Platinum prestigious?
The Amex Platinum is one of the most prestigious credit cards available because of its premium travel perks and benefits. This includes complimentary Priority Pass and Amex Centurion Lounge access, up to $200 in Uber Cash each year, up to $100 in annual Saks Fifth Avenue credits, and automatic elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors.
And that’s not to mention the valuable Amex Membership Rewards points you earn on every eligible purchase, which can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, and transfers to more than a dozen Amex transfer partners.
Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve free for the military?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve has no annual fee for active-duty military members. The Platinum Card from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Preferred also have no annual fees for active-duty military members. This helps qualified military members save big on credit cards, especially if those cards have high annual fees.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum discussion is important for frequent travelers looking to get more value whenever they’re on the road or in the air. Depending on how often you travel, you could get a lot more value out of these credit card offers than what you pay in annual fees every year. Before you apply for one, though, be sure to compare them with rewards credit cards from other credit card issuers that may also provide you with the perks that you need.
While many other travel cards don’t offer as much value, they may charge more affordable annual fees. There are also other premium travel cards, including the Citi Prestige Card, that may be a better fit. (If you want to compare credit cards, check out our article on the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum vs. Citi Prestige.)
Take the time to research and compare all of your options to make sure you get the best travel credit card for you.